In yet another example of how he has responded poorly to the coronavirus pandemic, President Donald Trump is blocking states from expanding Medicaid to fight it.
Because Trump is refusing to declare a national emergency as part of his agenda to downplay the severity of the pandemic, it means Medicaid rules can’t be loosened so that states can enroll more people and provide more testing and treatment to those who need it.
According to the Los Angeles Times:
Months into the current global disease outbreak, the White House and senior federal health officials haven’t taken the necessary steps to give states simple pathways to fully leverage the mammoth safety net program to prevent a wider epidemic.
That’s making it harder for states to quickly sign up poor patients for coverage so they can get necessary testing or treatment if they are exposed to coronavirus.
Trump is refusing to declare an emergency despite three major medical organizations signing a letter urging him to do so.
And that is unfortunate because Medicaid could lead the fight against the epidemic.
“Medicaid could be the nation’s biggest public health responder, but it’s such an object of ire in this administration,” George Washington University Medicaid expert Sara Rosenbaum told The Times. “Their ideology is clouding their response to a crisis.”
And that’s completely different than what past administrations have done in times of crisis.
In previous emergencies, including the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Hurricane Katrina and the H1N1 flu outbreak, both Republican and Democratic administrations loosened Medicaid rules to empower states to meet surging needs,” the paper reports. “But months into the current global disease outbreak, the White House and senior federal health officials haven’t taken the necessary steps to give states simple pathways to fully leverage the mammoth safety net program to prevent a wider epidemic.
It’s not like loosening Medicaid rules is hard either.
“If they wanted to do it, they could do it,” said Cindy Mann, who oversaw the program during the Obama administration.
Clearly, Trump should declare an emergency and stop blocking states from expanding Medicaid. Unlike him right now, states are trying to respond to the pandemic in an effort to stop it. He should be doing the same instead of worrying about the election, because continuing to respond terribly will hurt him more in the end.
Featured Image: Screenshot